How to Write a Screenplay in a Month


I read an article on this – well, skimmed it and saved it to my hard drive.

Still can’t tell you what it says – just skimmed a little, saved it, still there unread.

My first screenplay I wrote in 10 days.

The latest one I wrote in 18 days.

I had to count the days twice, sitting there with a calendar. I really did get the project on April 29th, and finished it a few days ago. 1,2,3,…18. Yup.

It felt like a month. for a day, I felt like I had no words. I was almost squeezed dry.

How did I do it? Here’s how. See if this works for you.

You need a logline. Spend some time learning how to write a logline. The seminars with Jeannie Bowerman from Writer’s Digest teach this well. Learn how to write a diagnostic Logline. Now, MULL.

take a day and mull. Think. Brainstorm.

I opened Evernote, and began to type. random words popped out. Some of them were random thoughts (“direction?”). Others had to do with the project. There were elements I knew I needed to do first of all. Absotively.

I started that on a Monday morning. Monday through Wednesday I spent writing in Evernote, and watching the seminars and taking notes.

Thursday, I bought Final Draft (YAY!!!), and spend a lot of time on the beat board. I got the story structure and my beats in there. I wrote the Onesheet. I LITTERED the Beat Board with things they never intended you to do that to – it was my version of a cork board in Scrivener.

I began typing that day. Literally, “Fade In:”

There you go. Beginning. Over the next two weeks, I wrote 7-17 pages a day of script. One scene at a time. Absolutely. I learned this a LONG time ago. “Worry about the next 5 minutes.” Bang out the scene, get to the next. Like Jeannie Bowerman said in the Seminar I watched on Monday and Tuesday, the first draft is you vomiting out the words as fast as you can.

I completely understand that.

Over those two weeks, I had trouble maintaining a conversation with my wife, who is sympathetic and understanding about her poor husband who obsesses about projects. Every chance I had, I stood in front of blank pieces of paper with only the date on it, and wrote every note that came into my head. Then I’d race through all the stuff I have to do every night, and focused on ” write the _____ scene”. I’d start to work on it, but it wasn’t there, so I moved to the next scene. I definitely did NOT write the script sequentially. i’m not using an IBM Selectric anymore. Final Draft ALLOWS you to write shotgun style.

I finished it. I couldn’t believe the feeling of euphoria as I wrote “fade to black.”

I sat there for a minute, and typed, “THE END“.

Then I went on Zillow and looked for cool houses for a couple of hours. I had projected finishing the screenplay in 27 days. I got it done in 18.

Technically, the Writer’s Guild maintains a minimum of 90 days to write a screenplay.

I don’t know what I’d do with that slack kind of writing schedule!

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